Ecuador Birds

A few friends and I ventured into NW Ecuador in March 2011 and I brought a lens that could at least shoot a few hummingbirds, instead of focusing on insect shots. This page will detail some of the hummers and a few other birds from that week long trip.

The above bird is the dominant feeder bird in the Tanadayapa Lodge feeders, which was our home base after a day in Quito. Ridgely says, "often quite pugnacious". This is the Buff-tailed Coronet, Boissonneaua flavescens, and it is found only in Ecuador and Columbia. There is another member of the genus on the other side of the Andes. And one more below. This species is especially concentrated in the 5 to 6000 foot level in NW Ecuador. But as with most mountainous hummers, if you leave its favored elevation, they become rare.

Both sexes have some head reflections in deep shining green. Males slightly more. Because of the lighter breast marking I thought this was a female but I think this is too much reflection for that sex. Note the characteristic buffy wing corners on both sexes. The competition for perch branches near the numerous feeders at the Tandayapa Lodge was intense. Sometimes three would sit with appropriate spacing and chatter away at each other. Aerial fights with wing slapping were frequent.

Intense greens in the species. And very aggressive around the feeders. The white vent blending into the strong buffy undertail patch is also visible here.

The other Coronet in the western slopes and into Columbia is this stunner, the Velvet-purple, Boissonneaua jardini. Appears dark with green wings and a flashy white tail. Back is a dark green. Much less common than the Buff-tailed. Mostly solitary. Tends to favor a bit lower altitude than the above and in fact we saw no VPs at the Tandayapa level feeders.

The velvety purple comes out in the reflective light. And again the flashy whites in the undertail.

The throat patch and crown are even more purple reflective but it is very hard to catch. You can see the more green back here. And out of focus in the back is her highness, the Empress Brilliant.

You move a bit higher and the Buff-wings appear. This is the Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Coeligena lutetiae. Same genus as the Incas. At Yanacocha's feeders this is the dominant 14 to 15 cm hummer. Both sexes have the flashy wing patch which is visible at rest and in flight. It is distinctive. The female here has the buffy throat patch. Males are blue there. Long straight beaks.

Male showing the face and a bit of the reflective blue throat. Wing patches partially seen here and again the long dark beak. Very small post eye triangle, not as prominent as in the Brilliants.

Female again with her buffy throat and flashy wing patch. Not a bit of curve in that beak. Tail is all dark in both sexes and indented.

This is the only shot I got of the Brown Inca, Coeligena wilsoni. These are trap line running mountain hummers that are more solitary. Only a few visits a day at the Tandayapa feeders and slightly lower in altitude than the Collared Inca, C. torquata, which we only found on the upper road there. It very rarely comes to feeders. On the east side of the Andes is the Bronzy Inca, C. coeligena, replacing this species. This Brown Inca was not aggressive at the feeders and was often rapidly displaced.